The Curse

So what’s this “Curse” all about?

In Greek mythology Europa was the Queen of Crete, however the moon she was named after was dubbed “The Queen of Failure” in the early 21st century by the media. Every mission sent to Europa had ended in some sort of failure; thus also prompting jokes about it having an ancient curse on it from Zeus. Others also joked about the Alien Monolith from the book “2010: Odyssey Two,” preventing humans from landing there or even exploring it.

From 2020 to 2047 there were five unmanned missions sent to validate the existence of a water ocean under Europa’s thick icy surface. All of the missions were unsuccessful though. Since Europa is almost one light-hour away from Earth, it was not possible to do any sort of remote control of a probe, so fully automated robotic probes were required and simply couldn't get the job done with the challenging terrain.

By the 2050’s, the world space agencies had merged into the Global Space Organization, and they desperately wanted to prove the existence of water on Europa and look for evidence of life. By this time there were also huge advancements in Nuclear Fission Propulsion, which dramatically cut down travel times, and a first ever manned orbital mission to Europa was completed in 2055. They were able to remotely send down an unmanned lander and finally were successful in sending a nuclear heated torpedo probe through the ice by remote control. They did confirm liquid water but shortly after reaching the underwater ocean all communications was lost to the probe. Is this moon really cursed?

Ever determined, the GSO is trying one more mission. This mission will send down the first ever manned lander to the surface. On board this lander will be two crews, each with basically the same mission, each will send down a separate nuclear heated probe through the ice. Two chances for success.

When the nuclear heated probes reach the ocean, underwater exploration probes will be launched that can be remote controlled to explore the ocean for evidence of life. Samples of soil, rock, and ice will also be gathered from the surface and ultimately returned to Earth.

Will this be the first Europa mission that doesn’t ultimately end in failure? Will they find evidence of life? Everyone jokes about the ‘curse’ but with the past history of Europa missions what is the crew really thinking to themselves in the back of their minds? Will they be successful?

Will they return home?

Checkout the Timeline for more information